Multiple special elections are taking place across the state today, but public transportation in Norman is in the hands of voters. The city of Norman is trying to fill a $2.2 million budget hole with a 1/8th cent sales tax.
“With the Norman Forward initiative, people’s sales tax dollars have built amazing libraries and pools and sports fields,” said Norman Mayor Breea Clark. “But without a public transportation system, many of our residents can’t get there.”
Current sales tax levels wouldn’t raise if the measure is approved because the 1/8th cent public transit tax wouldn’t go into effect until April first of next year- the same time Cleveland county’s current one-fourth-cent sales tax expires.
“It’s just a unique opportunity and timing to invest in your community without technically paying any more,” said Mayor Clark.
The city found themselves needing this additional funding after the University of Oklahoma stopped managing the city’s bus routes last year.
“While we understand it was a time of transition for the city and the university, it did catch us off guard,” said Mayor Clark.
The city hired the bus company Embark to provide services.
The total cost of the transit system is more than $5 million. Polls are open at the Cleveland County Election Board today until 7 p.m.
More than 330,000 rides were provided last year, with about 320,000 of those rides being given to non-OU students.